(WHBF) — A 33-year-old Eldridge, Iowa man was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison on child-pornography charges.
Nicholas Robert Walker-Bennett was sentenced to 180 months in prison after his plea to a charge of receipt and distribution of child pornography, according to a news release from the U. S. Attorney’s Office – Southern District of Iowa.
Walker-Bennett was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to each of his 14 victims, totaling $42,000. According to court documents, a cybertip received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children traced back to Walker-Bennett.
Walker-Bennett admitted to using a social media application for the exchange of child pornography. Further investigation also revealed that Walker-Bennett engaged in similar conduct for more than 11 years, taking many steps to conceal his crime by setting up numerous email addresses.
U. S. Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa made the announcement. The Scott County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case, which was prosecuted by the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Childhood” initiative, which was started in 2006 as a nationwide effort to combine law enforcement investigations and prosecutions, community action, and public awareness to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children.
On Tuesday, Sept. 14, an Eldridge man was arrested on charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.
The Scott County Sheriff’s Office received a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which initiated an investigation, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.
During the investigation, Walker-Bennett was developed as the suspect. Through the investigation, information was obtained for criminal charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. Evidence was obtained that Walker-Bennett possessed and promoted child pornography, the release said.
A search warrant was executed on the defendant’s house and person. Walker-Bennett’s cell phone was found to have a large amount of visual depictions of minors engaged in sex acts. Many photos and videos were located on the device specifically depicting infants, prepubescent, and pubescent males and females engaged in sex acts, according to the arrest affidavit.
Walker-Bennett used a digital communication service (Kik Messenger) to knowingly transmit material visually depicting the live performance of a minor engaged in a sex act, the affidavit says.